Dick Lewis--Peripheral Vascular Disease

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As highway superintendent of Chazy, N.Y. and the owner of an excavating business, Dick Lewis, 63, is always on the move.

When he started having problems with his leg, it became difficult to do his usual tasks – whether it was running the chainsaw, cutting brush or working a construction site.

Dick sought treatment and found out he had lower extremity vascular disease, when arteries in the leg become blocked due to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

In his case, a blockage in his femoral artery – a major artery in the thigh carrying blood from the heart and lungs to the leg – was causing severe pain in his calf.

An initial operation didn't help and in December 2009, Dick sought out a different hospital and came to Fletcher Allen for vascular surgery. Michael Ricci, M.D., Fletcher Allen vascular surgeon and professor of surgery at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, performed bypass surgery, using an artificial vein to bypass the blockage in the leg.

The surgery was a success and since then, Dick's leg has been pain-free.

Today, he's back to his busy schedule. He's been able to resume daily walks with his wife Gail – which he had to give up previously. They walk two to four miles each day and go snowshoeing in the winter.

"I haven't had a bit of problem with it," he said of his leg. "I'm 100 percent and just as good as before."

Dick was impressed with the care he received at Fletcher Allen – from the doctors and nurses to the food that was served.  "It's a step above," he said. "It's a great asset to the whole North Country, Vermont and New York included."